N.J. may block schools from charging students to take part in extracurricular activities

Public schools in New Jersey would be prohibited from charging students a fee to take part in extracurricular activities such as sports or music under a proposal in the Legislature.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says New Jersey residents pay enough in property taxes to support schools and should not have to pay more for after-school activities.

Parents might not be able to afford the extracurricular fees, and that would put their kids at a competitive disadvantage, said Burzichelli, D-Gloucester.

“When you have a public school system that is supposed to provide equally for every child based on their interests and ability, and now you put a financial test on it, saying you can’t do that unless you are willing to write another check, there are going to be kids left behind,” he said Monday.

Burzichelli says participation in sports, theater, music and other extracurricular programs can help students get scholarships for college.

A spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association says it will review the proposed legislation before taking a position on it.

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